Mumbai, India – The National Basketball Association (NBA) today (November 22) announced plans to launch NBA Academy India, an elite basketball training center in Delhi National Capital Region (NCR) for the top male and female prospects from throughout India. NBA Academy India, the first of its kind in the country and the NBA’s fifth elite training center globally, will be fully funded by the NBA and will open in April 2017, according to a NBA release.
“The NBA remains committed to growing the game in India, and the launch of NBA Academy India marks our most significant investment in basketball development in the market,” said NBA Vice President, International Basketball Operations, Brooks Meek. “This academy will provide the top male and female prospects in India with world-class coaching and training, as well as academic support and an emphasis on life skills,” Meek added.
There will be a national scouting program by the NBA, beginning later this month to identify the inaugural pool of 24 elite prospects who will receive scholarships and training at NBA Academy India. The 24 prospects will be selected by February 2017.
“NBA Academy India will help us identify and develop elite homegrown prospects and shape the next generation of national players,” said NBA India Managing Director Yannick Colaco. “Youth basketball players in India have had relatable figures to look up to in Sim Bhullar and Satnam Singh, and now NBA Academy India will give them a platform to prepare for the opportunity to develop into a professional-level prospect,” noted Colaco.
NBA Academy India builds on the NBA’s existing basketball and youth development initiatives in India. The Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program has reached more than 3.5 million youth and trained more than 3,000 physical education instructors nationwide since its launch in 2013. ACG-NBA Jump, India’s first national basketball talent search program, debuted in 2015 and provided the top player with the opportunity to attend the NBA Development League (NBA D-League) National Tryout in the United States.
Global NBA Academies
The announcement of NBA Academy India follows the launch of academies in Hangzhou, Jinan and Urumqi, China in October 2016, and the planned launch of NBA Global Academy, the NBA’s elite training center at Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence at the Australian Institute of Sport.
NBA Academies, consisting of a network of elite training centers around the world, include educational development for top international male and female prospects and mark the NBA’s most significant investment in elite player development. The NBA decision is set to support existing international basketball academies by exposing elite prospects to NBA-level coaching, facilities and competition and providing a global framework to maximize their success.
According to the proposal laid out by the NBA, these academies are projected to employ a holistic, 360-degree approach to player development extending beyond the court by focusing on education, leadership, character development and life skills. The initiative builds on the NBA’s existing grassroots programming, including Jr. NBA and NBA 3X, which engaged more than 12 million youth globally during the 2015-16 season.
Each elite training center will be staffed with NBA-trained coaches to foster the development of prospects on and off the court, both during and after their basketball careers. Each center will house under-16 and under-18 teams that will compete against top competition throughout the year. The top students at each center will have an opportunity to be selected for travel teams that will play in international tournaments and exhibition games. NBA Academies will also aim to foster the development of local basketball support staff.